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Jherrard Hardeman brings his passion for community to Rochester

Maestro Hardeman also named Music Director of the RPYO


ROCHESTER, NY –The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces today that Jherrard Hardeman has been named its new Assistant Conductor (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Education and Community Engagement Chair). Hardeman will also serve as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO).


A rising star in the symphonic- and chamber-music worlds, the 25-year-old Hardeman will support the missions of RPO Music Director Andreas Delfs and RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik to raise awareness and impact of the orchestra’s work within the Rochester community, as well as to boost the RPO’s profile on the global music stage.  


“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Jherrard Hardeman to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as our Assistant Conductor for the 2023-24 concert season,” says Maestro Delfs. “Jherrard convinced the audition committee with his superb musicianship, affable personality and spirited presentation of ideas and programs. The entire RPO family wishes him a happy and rewarding tenure with a great American orchestra.”


Hardeman, who was named Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta in September 2022, recalls making an instant connection with Delfs during their first meeting in early April.


“Andreas is a wealth of information and will be a wonderful mentor,” Hardeman notes. “In that first conversation, we spoke about where the field of classical music is going, and we agreed that the role of the Assistant Conductor is facing the community in a way that’s very direct.”


He continues: “I’m the sort of conductor who will be in the lobby immediately after performances to connect with audiences and talk about what they’ve just experienced, and also to find out what they want from their orchestra.”


Hardeman will lead the RPO’s signature OrKIDStra family series, education concerts at Kodak Hall, concerts for the community and beyond, our July summer series, and a Mozart and Dvořák program on the Sunday Matinee series March 24, 2024 – all in addition to his responsibilities as music director of the RPYO.


“My hope at this point in the game is to create a year for the RPYO that is unforgettable, that is filled with so many moments that are not just musical moments, but human moments,” he says.


A Detroit native, Hardeman was a child prodigy and, by his mid-teens, was already attracting national attention as a classical conductor, composer and violinist. He studied orchestral conducting under internationally renowned conductor David Robertson at The Juilliard School. Hardeman also says he cannot overstate the importance of mentorships by conductors Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and Kevin Noe, Executive Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.


Hardeman has appeared with the Seattle Symphony, Grosse Pointe Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and the Longy Conservatory Orchestra. An innate leader, he has also formed and/or conducted orchestras at such prestigious institutions as the New England Conservatory of Music, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the AVANTI Summer MusicFest.


The RPO announcement is being celebrated by Hardeman’s colleagues.


“We send our congratulations to Jherrard on his new post with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra,” President and CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta Blake-Anthony Johnson said in a statement. “Jherrard is an exceptional musician and a fine example of how the skills developed in the Freeman Fellowship Program and mentoring from Maestra Mei-Ann Chen truly prepare talented young conductors like Jherrard.”


Hardeman says he is excited to begin work with the RPO in late summer, as the orchestra kicks off its centennial season.


“This is something that many organizations never get to ever experience: being around for a whole century,” he explains. “I see the season as a celebration of both the orchestra and its audiences. The only reason we’re here is because of the people who supported us. My goal is to make sure that community is at the forefront of everything that we do. Service to the community is the key to our future.”


ABOUT THE RPO: The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Maestro Andreas Delfs was named music director in 2020, following notable RPO Music Directors Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 29th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 young people annually through its education programs.